Sunday Sermon [Acceptance]

¡Hola! Everybody…

During the 60s there was a famous poster depicting a swami, complete with flowing beard and robes,  on a surfboard with the caption, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.” LOL! Here’s something to consider, especially relevant when life’s ‘waves” get too rough…

* * *

-=[ Living Life on Life’s Terms ]=-

This too shall pass…

The last thing we want to hear when we’re in pain is some unsolicited truism. We’re in pain and clichés really have no place (nor relevance) at the moment of impact. I mean, would you rush over to the scene of a pedestrian accident and inform the victim, “This too shall pass”? Well, I know some people who probably would!

Nevertheless, clichés become clichés because they contain at least some measure of truth. Some of the most important teachings that help us with life’s hardships are simple to understand intellectually, but harder to integrate psycho-spiritually. It is only when we are finally free from a hurtful experience that we can claim to understand a truth. The following is based on a true story…

Being in prison is depressing, to say the least, and as the prisoner looked at his surroundings — the stone walls, the cold cell, the bars — he couldn’t help but feel the weight on life on his shoulders. As the days passed, and the reality of his sentence settled in, and his heart sank lower. Then one day, he attended a mandatory meeting and he heard one of the speakers say, “This too shall pass.”

At first those words elicited resentment, but as the days passed, those words seemed to pull him through. He printed those words on a blank sheet of legal pad paper, and he taped it above his bed and in that way, those were the last words he would see at the end of the day and the first words upon awakening. Eventually, he would pay an artist friend two packs of cigarettes so that now he had the words artistically engraved with fancy calligraphy on heavy stock paper. No matter how hard it got, he would look at those words and remember, “This too shall pass.”

On the day he was released, except for a few books, he gave away most of his belongings. As he was leaving, a friend asked about the sign, and the prisoner left it, perhaps hoping those words would comfort the next resident of that cell.

As he went about picking up the piece of his life after release, he would continue giving away that message, speaking on it at meetings and sharing it with those close to him — those who were suffering. And even when times were bad, he never got depressed because he remembered the truth of, “This too shall pass,” and he struggled, one day at a time, sometimes one breath at a time. There were good times too, and he made sure to enjoy them, but never carelessly or mindlessly. In times of joy, he remembered again, “this too shall pass,” and so he continued living his life on life’s terms, not taking anything for granted. At first, living in this way, it seemed as if the good times lasted much too long.

Years passed, and the rewards of his actions accumulated, the former prisoner would become a lover, a father, a dutiful son, a husband. But along with the victories came pain and he would experience the loss of loved ones, relationships lost, the trials, and tribulations — the “full catastrophe” — of life. He buried loved ones, grieved the losses of love, and experienced the slings of betrayal. Even then, “This too shall pass” still gave him hope and served to keep him focused and directed.

And that was his message to his friends and family — to any who would listen. Finally, he understood depression and sadness as a form of prison that “this too shall pass” helps us pass through. It is also one of the secrets to avoid depression, which is too often about internalizing anger and taking the happy times for granted.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

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